October 20, 2014

UW System president troubled, embarrassed by overpayments

University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly says he is going to hire an independent auditor to figure out what happened, resulting in Wisconsin taxpayers losing millions of dollars. A check of the books found the system had overpaid to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) for health insurance premiums and pension contributions by $33 million over the last two years.

Reilly is quoted as saying he is embarrassed by the findings by the Legislative Audit Bureau. “I am deeply troubled by these mistakes. After close consultation with the Board of Regents leadership, I have directed our Office of Operations Review and Audit to take immediate action.”

The $17.5 million overpayment for contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System has been recovered. To this point, only $2.4 million of the $15.4 million in overpayments on workers’ health insurance premiums have come back to the system. Reilly says, “We are taking this matter very seriously, and I am confident that our corrective actions will resolve its root causes. I am nonetheless highly embarrassed and very disappointed by these errors and the resulting overpayments. I pledge to our Wisconsin taxpayers, Legislators, students, and staff that we will fix this problem so that it does not happen again.”

The Legislative Audit Bureau released a report Thursday outlining the overpayments. Reilly says, “We will make absolutely sure that similar errors do not happen again.”